Novo engine


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A Brief Word Somewhere in our reading we came across the obituary for Joseph Reid, extracts of which follow: Joseph Reid was born on November 11, 1843 in Maybole, Ayrshire, Scotland, where he attended public schools until his eleventh year. He then was apprenticed by his father to learn the joiner's trade, at which he worked for four years. Later he became a machinist in the railroad shops of the Glasgow & Southwestern Railroad Company, Kilmarnock, Scotland.

In 1863 Mr. Reid located in Montreal, Canada, where he worked for a short time as a machinist, after which he followed his trade in the United States, and was for some years connected with the Baldwin Locomotive Works in Philadelphia. In 1876 he entered the service of the Atlantic & Great Western Railroad, now the Erie Railroad, at Meadville, Pennsylvania.

In the following year he went to Oil City, where he worked with the W. J. Innis & Co. and also with the firm of Malcomson &. Patterson. When the latter firm failed in business, he bought their shop and started a small business of his own. In addition to general shop work, he made a specialty of refinery supplies. The opening of the Lima, Ohio, oil fields found the refiners unable to take care of the grade of oil produced in that field. The oil, however, could be used as a fuel, and after careful experiment Mr. Reid designed, patented, and manufactured a line of oil burners which were very successful. Thus, in 1885 he formed the Reid Burner Company.

As a result of extensive experiments, Mr. Reid brought out in 1894 what is believed to have been the first practical natural-gas engine, and by 1899 had made many improvements to it. The small repair shop became a large factory, and the Joseph Reid Gas Engine Company was organized with Mr. Reid as president. He also assisted in organizing the Frick-Reid Supply Company, a large oil concern in the West, and was vice-president and director of the latter firm. He was also president of the Reid Land Development Co. which operated fruit ranches in the West.


Manufactured by the Keystone Iron Works at Fort Madison, Iowa.

This engine is manufactured in sizes from 1 to 75 H. P. It is of the four cycle type and is equipped to ignite either with electric spark or hot tube; the latter is recommended. It is equipped also with the well known Gardner Governor, and is so arranged as to take a large or small charge to suit the work it is doing, thereby giving an even and steady motion.

Reid became a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers in 1904. He died on October 23, 1917.

Many of our readers are familiar with the Reid engines with their unique outside scavenging cylinder. Thousands and thousands of these engines were built, and a substantial number still exist. Their primary application was to the oil fields, although it is to be presumed that many more were used for other purposes. Several styles of the Reid engines are shown on page 416 of American Gas Engines.

Also note the illustration and description of the Lamos engine as built by the Keystone Iron Works, Fort Madison, Iowa. This illustration is found in a little book entitled, The Gas and Gasoline Engine and its Age, published by Norman & Hubbard of Chicago in 1897. Except for this illustration and brief description of the Lamos, little has been found; however, a slight bit of additional information is included on page 263 of American Gas Engines.

From the Norman & Hubbard book cited above, we also found some helpful tables to determine the size and speed of pulleys and gears. A perusal of them might be helpful at some time or other.

We have additional information on the 1995 European Tour sponsored by GEM:

Wade Farm Tours has solidified the itinerary, and briefly, it looks like this:

Saturday September 9, flights leave from Chicago, New York, and possibly other cities for an overnight flight to Zurich, Switzerland. We'll spend a couple of days in Switzerland, and then it's off to the Swiss Research Institute and toward the Black Forest Area in Germany. We'll see things like the private collection of Roland Porten, and end up Wednesday viewing another private collection near Sindelfingen (with a lot of other things that day). Thursday, September 14 we'll visit the Mercedes-Benz factory in Sindelfingen, lunch in Stuttgart, and then visit the M-B Museum, plus some other stops on our way to Heidelberg (often said to be the most beautiful city in Germany). Friday we'll visit the John Deere Factory at Mannheim, among other things, and Saturday, we'll have some free time in Heidelberg, then on to Cologne and a cruise on the River Rhine. September 18, we'll go to the Cologne Cathedral, and then through the Ruhr Valley area toward the Netherlands. All kinds of interesting events are planned in the interim, and on September 20 there will be a sightseeing canal cruise in Amsterdam. Then on September 21 we'll depart Holland, go through Belgium to Calais, and take the new Channel Tunnel to Folk stone, England, and stay in London for two nights. On Saturday, September 23 we'll depart for home.

Further details, pricing, and the complete itinerary will be available shortly. However, it has been difficult to obtain firm pricing this far ahead, so that is causing a slight delay in finalizing everything for the tour. If you are at all interested, we suggest you drop a line to GEM, P.O. Box 328, Lancaster, PA 17608. They'll put your request on file, and as soon as detailed information is available, you'll get it in the mail. My wife Sheila and I are delighted to be Tour Hosts for this upcoming European Tour.

Our queries this month begin with:

30/2/1 McClary Engine  Kevin Brickwood, operations manager of Barkerville Historic Town, Box 19,  Barkerville, BC Z0K 1B0 Canada needs any available information on a 1921 water-cooled McClary stationary engine, one of which is in the museum's collection. If you can be of help, kindly oblige.

30/2/2 Associated Engine Q. Would you please give the year built for an Associated Johnny Boy engine, 1 HP, s/n 258123! Hal Opdyke, 4960 Sioux Way, Okemos, Ml 48864

A. The Johnny Boy first appeared about 1915, but it is unknown when production of this model ended.

30/2/3 Witte Information Q. What is the year built for a Witte 6 HP engine, s/n 12773? It also might be of interest to note that I found this engine with the battery box and original coil together and in working order. Mac Macomber, 510 Plain Hill Rd., Norwich, CT 06360.

A. Your engine was shipped April 1914

30/2/4 Spark Coils  Q. Can anyone explain how the plain spark coils used with-an igniter can provide such a big spark? It's easy to understand an automotive coil, but I don't understand the plain coil and how they work. Robert Lebaron, 5801 E. 5th St., Tucson, AZ 85711-2403.

A. We'll try to explain this one in general terms, noting that with some engine designs there are different methods of achieving the same goal. The ignitor of course is simply a pair of contacts. At rest, the contacts are closed, completing a circuit from the battery and through the coil. When the circuit is completed, voltage is present in the coil windings. As we understand it, most coils were wound so as to draw about 3 amperes. With voltage on the coil, the magnetic core is of course, magnetized.

Let's use an analogy. Voltage can also be defined as electrical pressure, and so let's say that 12 volts is akin to 12 pounds per square inch. Amperes is akin to volume, and say that three amperes is equivalent to three gallons per minute. If this stream is running and we suddenly interrupt it, there will be a substantial increase in pressure (voltage) for a very brief period. The difference is that in electrical terms, the sudden substantial but brief rise in voltage on breaking the circuit is in direct relation to how rapidly the magnetic field decays. Edison found out in his experiments that a short, fat coil delivers a hotter spark than a long and skinny one. That's how the Edison coil was developed.

To put all this another way, when the igniter points open, the circuit is interrupted. Now for a very brief time the voltage rises considerably; without looking up the data, probably something in the range of 150-200 volts. This is what provides the big arc to fire the charge. To prove this even further, when striking an arc with a welder, there isn't a whole lot of fire. However, once the arc is established, it's possible to draw it out several inches. There are a lot of other technicalities behind all this, but we hope this answers your questions.

30/2/5 Ingeco Engine Q. Can anyone tell me the year built of an Ingeco engine, 3 HP, Type W, s/n 17492? I know it was after 1917. Claude Bryant, RR 2, Box 260, El Dorado, KS 67042.

A. As with so many other companies, we wish that the serial number lists still existed. Unfortunately, this is not so, including those for the Ingeco line.

30/2/6 Gray Marine Engine Q. See the 'before photos' (6A and 6B), and 'after' photos, (6C and D). The engine was stored in a damp basement for about 50 years and acquired a thick layer of rust, but it was not stuck. If anyone has any information on this engine, 1 would like to hear from them. Also, see this engine in American Gas Engines,  lower left hand picture. John Miller, 34127 Lee Avenue, Leesburg, FL 34788.

30/2/7 Panther Tractor Q. See the photos of my Panther tractor. I would like general information about this unit, such as when made, and who might have any of these tractors. Any technical information would be of help as well, and I'd greatly appreciate hearing from anyone in this connection. Richard M. Forgnone, Box 1472, Batavia, NY 14021.

A. Can anyone be of help on this query?

30/2/8 Novo Et Al? Q. See the photos of a Novo engine. However, the nameplate says, 'Manufactured by The Niagara Brand Spray Co., Ltd., Burlinton, Ontario.' It also has 'Novo' cast into the piston rod.

As late as 1940 I used a Bean pump cog driven by a Novo engine just like this to spray five acres of apple orchard.

A. There are several possibilities. Perhaps Novo (US) owned or had control of the Niagara Brand Spray Co. Perhaps the latter had a license to build the Novo in Canada, or possibly they had an arrangement to use their own plate on what is obviously a Novo engine. There's also the remote possibility that Niagara simply used their own name on the engine, either with permission, or without. Perhaps someone might have further information in this regard.

30/2/9 Everite Pump Q. I need help in identifying the water pump shown in the photos, It was made in Lancaster, Pa. and says EVERITE on it-It also has a brass tag proclaiming 'Timken Bearings.' If anyone has any information, it would be appreciated.

I also would like to locate further information on a 2 HP Majestic engine. Can anyone tell me the time period in which they were built, and whether the Majestic was built by Waterloo Gasoline Engine Co.? Donald Harvey, 206 W. Washington St., Bath, NY 14810.

A. Waterloo did indeed build an engine that was otherwise sold as 'Majestic,' but so did several other companies. Thus, without a photograph, we're unable to elucidate further.

30/2/10 Milwaukee Machinery Co. Q. In 1992 I bought the engine shown in the photos. The nameplate reads, 'Milwaukee Machinery Co., Milwaukee, Wisconsin.' This is a side shaft engine, with a two-lobe sliding cam; one position for starting and the other for running. The flywheels are 28 inches, and it has a 5 x 8 inch bore and stroke. I do not know the horsepower. When checking the American Gasoline Engines book, this engine is on page 309 under the Milwaukee Machy. Co. heading, and also in the same under the Advance Mfg. Co. heading. On the engine shown there seems to be the same as mine and was made by a Mr. Lykke.

When I got my engine the only thing left on it was the side shaft and it had to be replaced; even the rod cap was missing. See the photos of the engine after it was restored. In 10B it is shown in the Victoria, Texas, Mall with some antique cars. Carl Symonds, 249 Fleming Prairie Rd., Victoria, TX 77905.

30/2/11 Cushman Oil Level Q. I have a Cushman upright binder engine. It has a drip oilier but no place to tell the oil level in the crankcase. At the lower part of the crankcase there is a petcock that would check the oil level but would nearly drain it. I don't want it to run low on oil. Please advise.

Also, I have a Detroit engine, upright, and water cooled. The timer has a long lever that moves quite a distance for running either direction. It has a primer cup and on top of the carburetor it says, 'Fuel Injector.' A line from it has a needle valve and goes to the cylinder at about the middle. The main bearing has grease cups but no way to put oil in the crankcase. Please advise.

Can anyone tell me when the Model 21, Type X, 1 HP Cushman was built, s/n 9127? John B. Gardner, PO Box 68, 212 South Main St., Plevna, KS 67568.

A. The oil level system varied a bit on the Cushman binder engines. We had the same question, and finally removed the side plate, adjusting the oil level so that the rod dipper just caught the oil. That should be the same level as the small drain cock. The drip oilier is there to keep adding a little oil so as to maintain the oil level in the crankcase.

The Detroit two-cycle has, as we recall, a dry crankcase, with oil being mixed in the fuel. The grease cups on the mains serve to lubricate them, as well as providing an air seal. With any engine using crankcase scavenging, air leaks are likely to occur around the shaft, and this is very detrimental to good running. One must also be cautious that excessive oil does not accumulate in engines having a dry crankcase. For gas engines, this creates a lot of white smoke, and for diesel or oil engines, this stuff goes past the rings as fuel, and the engine can run away.

We have no serial number information on Cushman X engines.

30/2/12 Witte Sideshaft Q. I need information on a Witte Side shaft engine, s/n 2420, that 1 found while traveling in Idaho this summer. I also need information on a Simplicity 3 HP. Ed Olsen, 500 Valley St., Anchorage, AK 99504.

A. No production data survives on your engine. All engines up to 1914 were either Standard or Star models, with the first being built in 1894. Perhaps someone might have a Witte sideshaft with a number close to yours and thus be able to provide a better idea of when it was built. We have no data on Simplicity outside of that given in American Gas Engines.

30/2/13 Information Needed Q. I have a 4 HP Novo, s/n 57986 with a Bean Spray Pump tag attached. Also I have a Galloway 3 HP, s/n 39463 which is on a cement mixer. Is there any way to determine when these engines were built? Frank O'Meara, 19991 Birchwood Loop, Chugiak, AK 99567.

A. There is no way we know of to determine the production dates of the above engines; only the general guidelines given in American Gas Engines.

30/2/14 Cushman Bean Special Cub Q. I would like to know the year built of the above engine, Model R20B, 3 HP, s/n A27899; also a source for air cleaner unit, and possibly an owner's manual. Doc's, 1003 Burning Oak Ct., Venice, FL 34293.

30/2/15 Woolery Engine Q. See the photo of my Model C engine, s/n 3350. It is a two-cycle with about a 4-inch bore. It was made by Woolery Machine Co., Minneapolis, Minnesota, and sold in Canada by the Dominion Equipment & Supply Co., Winnipeg. The plate indicates a patent date of August 15,1916. I would like to know what sort of governor and throttle was used, since the parts are missing on my engine. Charles Mollenen, 3125 N. 10th St., Fargo, ND 58102.

A. We thought the Patent Office Gazette might have the answer, but as you can see, the Woolery patent covers the engine sub-base and has nothing to do with those areas for which you seek information.

30/2/16 Waterloo Boy Information Needed Q. In the vicinity of Stavanger, Norway, on one of the many islands, a friend of mine has two old stationary farm engines, built by Waterloo Gasoline Engine Co. and rated at 2 HP, with numbers of 187144 and 187098.

Both of our engines are in a state of disrepair, and one of them has later been modified with a magneto and ordinary spark plug. It is our hope to get in touch with either the original builder, which we believe is a forerunner of John Deere, or someone who can supply more information about the petrol system and the ignition system. Descriptions of the original paint colors would also be appreciated. Dr. Arne E. Walloe, Postboks 35, N-4051, Sola, Norway.

A. Can anyone possibly be of help with photos or other information?

30/2/17 Tire Cracks Q. Many of us are plagued by good tractor tires that are weather-checked. Does anyone have a good formula that would be slightly elastic or rubbery to paint in these cracks' Kenneth Scales, 2601 Shadynook Way, Oklahoma City, OK 73141

A. Any suggestions, anyone?

30/2/18 Who Made It? Q. See the two photos of an old road grader I found this summer. The nameplate is gone, so can anyone tell me the make? Any information would be appreciated. Robert P. Weis, Cricket Hill Farm, PO Box 1032, Dublin, NH 03444-1032.

30/2/19 K.C. Junior Engine Q. I  have a K. C. Junior engine (see photos) made by the K.C. Hay Press Co., Kansas City, MO. It is 6 HP, shop no. KC372, Patented. It is still on the hay press but was run by a tractor when last used. I am missing a lot of small parts and would like to hear from anyone having a complete engine or parts books of this type. How many of these engines were built, and when? George Wayne Walker Jr., RR 1, Box 98A, Onaga, KS 66521.

A. We haven't gone back through our files in an effort to pinpoint our information, but in compiling American Gas Engines, we noted that the KC Junior began life about 1912, and that parts were available into the 1940s. Beyond that, we don't know much about them except to say that we consider them to be an extremely scarce engine.

30/2/20 Aermotor Engine Q. See the photo of my Aermotor on which I have a few questions. Its serial number is CSUC; what is the date of manufacture? It has the governor weights on the camshaft. During what period was this design built? There seems to be virtually no written information on these engines. Are there any sources of technical or historic information? I would like to correspond with others having this type of engine. David C. Brown, 13813 Travois Trail, Parker, CO 80134.

A. We've never found much on the Aeromotor Pumpjack engine, nor do we have any information regarding the various design changes that took place during its production years.

30/2/21 Righting a Wrong! Thanks to Bob Olson, Box 52, Ft. Thompson, SD 57339 for pointing out that under 29/12/2A, in the December 1994 GEM, we incorrectly gave 1928 as the year built for an IHC engine, s/n A82078. This should have been 1921. We apologize for the typo.

30/2/22 Cunningham Engine Q. Recent/y / acquired a Cunningham Model EA engine, made by James Cunningham & Sons, Rochester, New York. Can anyone supply further information on this engine? Ben Hartmann, 1247 Dunn Road, Florissant, MO 63031.

30/2/23 Gray Engines Q. I recently acquired a 4 HP Gray engine, built in Detroit, Michigan. J would like to know if any method of dating these engines exists, such as serial numbers.

I have seen these engines restored in dark gray, light gray, and pale green; the gray ones using red lettering, and the green using black lettering. However, upon grease removal I found a faded red in many areas of the engine. Is any color information or a paint code available? My engine is identical to the one pictured on page 214 of American Gas Engines. Bill Hash, Box 261, Peterstown, WV 24963.

A. First, there is no serial listing we know of. Secondly, we have a piece of literature that shows the Gray with a red finish. We're not sure of the shade, nor do we know when the paint color was changed. Can anyone be of further help?

30/2/24 Wards Powr-Trac Q. For his first restoration project, my eight-year old son, Peter, has acquired the Montgomery Ward garden tractor (see photos). It is a Wards Powr-Trac and has a single cylinder engine with three forward speeds and reverse. The tag says it is a Model MID5055A, s/n 1688. 'It uses a Wico magneto. Any information or assistance would be greatly appreciated on this tractor. Roe Tyson, 13033 Compton Road, Clifton, VA 22024.

A. Can anyone be of help on this project?

30/2/25 Witte Diesel Q. I have a 12 HP Witte Diesel, s/n D1563, and would like to know year built, color, etc. Also need the injector pressure setting, and would like to know if there is a source for parts, such as head gaskets and the like. Any help will be appreciated. Moses Hoover, 208 Greble Rd., Myers-town, PA 17067.

 A. We have it that the Witte Diesels vary in color, with some being comparable to PPG 33296 Embassy Gray, and others being Ditzler 32711 Gray. We don't have serial lists for these engines, nor do we know of a positive source for parts. These engines use an American Bosch injection system, so the injection pressure data should be available from an American Bosch dealer.

30/2/26 Unidentified Engine Q. Can anyone identify the engine in the photos? Any help will be appreciated. Andy Miller, 411 Luick Lane, Belmond, IA 50421.

A. Yours is a Novo Roll R engine; the latter term indicating that the mains are roller bearings. This model is illustrated on pages 351 and 352 of American Gas Engines.

30/2/27 South Africa Letter Q. I have four American engines and some British engines. Details of my American engines are as follows: Kohler electric Plant, l .5 kva, Model 1AFB21 (with help from Kohler Co., the unit was dated as a 1946 model and is now in full working order); Nelson Bros. Jumbo Engine, Model U, 2 HP, s/n 5932; IHC Type LB engine, 1-2 s/n LBA126149; Cush man Model C34, 4-6 HP, s/n A4178.

If the suppliers still exist for the last three engines, I would like to get their address, so as to seek s/n and technical information. If not, I would appreciate any information on these engines. Gerrie de Jong, 6 Hobson Crescent, Sasolburg 9570, Republic of South Africa.

A. Your IHC engine was built in 1949. There is no s/n information available for the others. If anyone can be of help to this far-away collector, kindly lend a hand.

30/2/28 Cycle Engine? Q. See the photo of what appears to be a cycle engine. The number 30 D 5599 is stamped on the crankcase. Notice baffled tank (not original) for gas and oil. Oil pump seen on side of crankcase returns oil to tank. Can anyone identify this one? Stan McAlister, 13553 West Virginia Dr., Lakewood, CO 80228.

A. Can anyone be of help?

30/2/29 Novo Model TU Engine Q. I am restoring a Novo TU engine, 3? x 4. Is there a color reference for this engine? It looks to have been some shade of green. Craig Cleckner, 3607 Hollyberry St., Hampton, VA 23661.

A. Our color references on Novo include the earlier hopper cooled variety, but not the high-speed designs of later years. Can anyone supply a color match for the late model Novo engines?

Readers Write

Dick Hamp, 1772 Conrad Avenue, San Jose, CA 95124-4501 sends some comments on previous queries. We thank Dick for his efforts. They are as follows:

29/12/16  The Cushman Bean Special engine is probably a Cushman Cub engine, as I have seen many Bean sprayers fitted with these engines. Many GEM advertisers sell manuals for the Cub engines. Most of the Bean engines were painted a machinery gray color.

29/12/18  Regarding parts and information on Simplex motor bikes, I saw two ads in this connection in a recent issue of Hemming's Motor News. One source is: Mr. Burton, 1100 - 39th St N., St. Petersburg, FL 33713; phone 813-323-1148. The other name is: Wayne Mahaffey, phone 205-353-5552.

29/12/24  I think the unidentified engine in the photo is a Ziegler-Schryer. A pal of mine is working on one of these engines at the present time, and it looks very similar to the one in the photo. More information on these engines is found on page 408 of American Gas Engines. The carburetor on the ?? engine appears to be very similar to a Stover unit and not like the one pictured on the engine in the photo on page 408.

A Closing Word

From the Alamo Engine Company files, see 30/2/30 illustrating an engine somewhat similar to that shown in the upper left corner, of American Gas Engines. As previously indicated, none of these photos have any identification whatever, so we, and you, are left to our own resources in determining what the engine is, and the specific details.

In 30/2/31 we see a small engine geared to a pump jack. Presumably, the entire unit was built by Alamo, but we've never seen any catalog data on this model.

Photo 30/2/32 illustrates a large stationary kerosene engine. Obviously, it was designed for 24-hour usage, as evidenced by the mechanical oilier. The air preheater around the exhaust indicates that the engine was intended for use with kerosene or other low-grade fuels. Also of interest is the unique magneto mounting, coupled directly to the end of the crankshaft.